It’s Super Bowl weekend, and that means the box office is about to get sacked.
Since much of the American moviegoing public will will be glued to the tube on Sunday to watch the Baltimore Ravens take on the San Francisco 49ers, box office receipts are expected to plummet, though some brave souls will venture out to see this week’s new wide releases: the zombie romance Warm Bodies and Sylvester Stallone’s shoot-em-up Bullet to the Head.
Here’s how the slow frame may play out:
1. Warm Bodies – $18 million
After five Twilight movies, Summit Entertainment (now owned by Lionsgate) is no stranger to the YA scene, but their zombified rom-com, based on the novel Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion, won’t reach the dizzying heights of its vampire franchise. Still, Warm Bodies, which cost the studio about $35 million, should play well with younger audiences thanks to its PG-13 rating and youthful source material, and it’s headed for a nice mid-sized weekend. Last year two teen-fueled releases, Chronicle and The Woman in Black, scored on Super Bowl weekend with openings of $22 million and $20.9 million, respectively.
Warm Bodies has been marketed effectively, and its lighthearted romantic twist on the killer zombie narrative (recently re-popularized by The Walking Dead) is a welcome conceit just two weeks away from Valentine’s Day. Beginning its run in 3,009 theaters, Warm Bodies may lurch to $18 million over the Friday-to-Sunday period.
2. Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters – $8.7 million
The critically savaged fairy tale adaptation, which topped last weekend’s chart with $19.7 million, may fall by a steep 55 percent due to poor word-of-mouth down to $8.7 million and $34 million total.
3. Silver Linings Playbook – $7 million
The Oscar contender dropped by a scant 12 percent last weekend, but due to the Super Bowl it will likely fall by a heftier 25 percent. That would give the sleeper hit a great $7 million in its 12th weekend and take its total to just below $80 million.
4. Mama – $6.5 million
After two successful weekends, the $15 million frieghtfest starring Oscar nominee Jessica Chastain is headed for a $6.5 million frame and a $58 million total.
5. Bullet to the Head – $6 million
January was a tough month for guys with guns at the box office. Gangster Squad, Broken City, The Last Stand, and Parker all performed poorly, and now Warner Bros.’ Sylvester Stallone action entry Bullet to the Head seems destined for a similar fate. Just as Arnold Schwarznegger couldn’t fill seats two weeks ago, Sly is no longer the draw he used to be – despite The Expendables’ appeal. Dedicated older male action fans will turn out, but few others will pay to see the stalwart action star in an R-rated pic that’s not part of the Rambo or Rocky franchises. Warner Bros. did not provide EW with a budget for Bullet, though reports claim it cost $55 million to produce. Unfortunately for Stallone, Bullet will likely earn just a fraction of that – perhaps $6 million from 2,404 locations in its first three days.
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